Lynch will step down as Henrico supervisor at the end of the month
Henrico County Supervisor Courtney Lynch has decided to step down before her term ends, weeks after announcing she would not seek re-election in 2019.
Lynch, who clashed publicly with county officials over teacher pay and leadership styles, said her last day will be June 30.
“Glad to have had an opportunity [to] serve, yet realize I’m not the right person for the role,” Lynch said in a text message, declining to say anything further.
When Lynch announced in May that she didn’t plan to seek another term representing the Brookland
District, she called for turnover on the Board of Supervisors and the School Board and criticized Henrico elected officials for being complacent. Those comments, like others Lynch had made since being elected in November, have riled her peers.
News of her resignation Wednesday and the straightforward way Lynch announced it were greeted on friendlier terms.
Supervisor Tyrone Nelson, who in the past has said Lynch’s public comments were insulting, wished her luck and gave Lynch credit for kicking off a conversation about teacher salaries. That conversation saw the board add $3.2 million to the school system’s budget on Tuesday to improve teacher retention.
“I want to acknowledge my colleague’s passion for educators in the county,” Nelson said Wednesday. “She broached the conversation back in March that led us down the path to add $3.2 million more to the education budget.”
Lynch’s rise to power was seen by some observers as the harbinger of a new era in Henrico. Lynch’s victory brought a majority of modern Democrats to Henrico’s Board of Supervisors for the first time in decades. Her election also came on the same night her fellow Democrats flipped 15 Republican-held seats in the state House of Delegates. Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney endorsed her candidacy in November; he couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.
Supervisor Tommy Branin and board Chairman Frank Thornton likewise did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
“It was her decision,” Supervisor Pat O’Bannon said of Lynch’s resignation. “I regret that she didn’t find a good fit for her personality.”
Lynch’s resignation letter totaled three sentences notifying Thornton of her plans to step down and thanking him for assistance with her transition. The prospect of the Brookland seat becoming vacant sets in motion some deadlines for how and when Lynch will be replaced.
The Board of Supervisors will have 15 days after Lynch steps down to petition the circuit court to order a special election. At the latest, the special election would have to happen in November when Virginians cast ballots in congressional races. The supervisors could opt to hold a special election sooner, but it could not occur within 60 days of November’s general election.
“There’s some latitude,” County Attorney Joe Rapisarda said of the board’s options.
The board also will weigh whether to appoint a temporary replacement for the Brookland seat until a special election is held. If the supervisors wish to tap an interim replacement, board members would have to decide on a pick within 45 days of Lynch’s departure. If the board can’t agree or opts not to make an appointment, the circuit court could step in.
Brookland residents could be forgiven for experiencing a bit of deja vu.
Lynch, a Democrat, secured the Brookland District seat in a special election last November in the wake of the death of longtime Supervisor Richard W. “Dick” Glover. She beat Republican Bob Witte by 11 percentage points — about 2,400 votes. Before Lynch, the Brookland seat was held by Harvey Hinson, a former deputy county manager who was temporarily appointed by the Board of Supervisors.
Pete Kinsella, a Brookland resident and cofounder of the group Equitable Advocates, said in an interview that after being excited about elements of Lynch’s campaign, he is disappointed she is stepping down.
“We were hopeful,” said Kinsella, who wouldn’t disclose whether he voted for Lynch. “Now it appears she has chosen to take her ball and go home.”